Pub dispute ends 12 years on the run for drink-driver Joseph McBrearty
It was the end of the road for a drink-driver who gave a false name to police and then evaded justice for 12 years.
The long arm of the law finally caught up with father-of-three Joseph McBrearty when he was jailed for six months for perverting the course of justice.
Judge Charles Byers, sitting at Maidstone Crown Court, told the 38-year-old gas fitter that the courts had to "make a stand when people don't obey the rules".
Random breathalyser. Library picture
McBrearty was originally stopped by police in April 2001 while living in Medway and charged with driving with excess alcohol.
However, he gave the name of Rory O'Donnell, together with a false date of birth, and backed up his "identity" with a false USA driving licence.
Under that name, Scots-born McBrearty was charged, pleaded guilty, fined £170 and banned from driving for a year.
Within weeks McBrearty's true identity was discovered and he was charged with perverting the course of justice.
However, shortly before he was due to be sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court in October 2001, McBrearty was said to have simply walked out of the building "in panic".
A warrant was issued for his arrest - and it finally bore fruit last month when he was arrested following a skirmish outside a pub.
McBrearty, formerly of Cobden Road, Chatham, but now living in North Acton, London, admitted the charge.
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
Passing sentence, Judge Byers said such an offence "taints the very fountain of justice at the well spring" and could only be met by a jail term.
"There must be a clear message that such behaviour will not pay in the long run," he explained.
The judge added that the driving licence was used "foolishly" to back up his story when stopped for drink-driving.
"There must be a clear message that such behaviour will not pay in the long run" - Judge Charles Byers
Rory Keene, defending, told the court McBrearty obtained the licence when he was in the USA and not legally old enough to drink.
He added that McBrearty had stayed out of trouble following his "impulsive mistake" and said no one else had been implicated by McBrearty's dishonesty as the false identity did not relate to a real person.
McBrearty is expected to be released within two months having already served a month in custody on remand.
He was not charged in relation to the pub incident which led to his arrest.
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